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Hailed by the Daily Telegraph as ‘a voice of real distinction,’ Nicky Spence is fast emerging as one of ‘our finest young singers.’ An artist of great integrity, Nicky Spence’s unique skills as a singing actor and the rare honesty in his musicianship are steadfastly earning him a place at the top of the profession. 2015-16 Season highlights include his debut at the Bastille for Opéra National de Paris in Schoenberg's Moses und Aron, Leoncavallo's Zazá with the BBCSO at the Barbican under the baton of Maurizio Benini, La Gazza Ladra & The Makropoulos Case at Frankfurt Oper, and Števa in David Alden's landmark production of Jenůfa at English National Opera. Concert appearances include performance of works by Bach at the BBC Proms with the Academy of Ancient Music, Mendelssohn's Elijah and Bach St Matthew Passion Royal Festival Hall, and in recital at St Martins-in-the-field, Purcell Room and Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow.  Recordings this season include a disc of French Mélodie with Malcolm Martineau (Chandos Records) to follow-up on their critically acclaimed recital disc debut 'As you like it: Shakespeare Songs', a

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Hailed by the Daily Telegraph as ‘a voice of real distinction,’ Nicky Spence is fast emerging as one of ‘our finest young singers.’ An artist of great integrity, Nicky Spence’s unique skills as a singing actor and the rare honesty in his musicianship are steadfastly earning him a place at the top of the profession.

2015-16 Season highlights include his debut at the Bastille for Opéra National de Paris in Schoenberg's Moses und Aron, Leoncavallo's Zazá with the BBCSO at the Barbican under the baton of Maurizio Benini, La Gazza Ladra & The Makropoulos Case at Frankfurt Oper, and Števa in David Alden's landmark production of Jenůfa at English National Opera. Concert appearances include performance of works by Bach at the BBC Proms with the Academy of Ancient Music, Mendelssohn's Elijah and Bach St Matthew Passion Royal Festival Hall, and in recital at St Martins-in-the-field, Purcell Room and Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow.  Recordings this season include a disc of French Mélodie with Malcolm Martineau (Chandos Records) to follow-up on their critically acclaimed recital disc debut 'As you like it: Shakespeare Songs', a new work 'For an Unknown Solider' written for him and the Mozart Players (Onyx), and premiere works by Pavel Haas (Resonus Records).

Last season's highlights included David in multi-award winning Die Meistersingers von Nürnberg at the English National Opera with Music Director Edward Gardner, a Rossini double bill at Welsh National Opera with Carlo Rizzi, and Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini at De Nederlandse Opera under Sir Mark Elder. Concerts included recitals with Roger Vignoles, Julius Drake, Malcolm Martineau, The Allegri Quartet and the Doric Quartet as well as performances of Handel with Tromsø Chamber Orchestra, Recitals at Zürich Tonhalle, Purcell Room, Oxford Lieder Festival and Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with the Auckland Philharmonia in New Zealand.

On the opera stage, Nicky Spence created the role of Brian in the world premiere of Nico Muhly's opera Two Boys at the ENO, a role he reprised for his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2013 conducted by David Robertson.  His other recent roles include Števa in Jenůfa at La Monnaie, Brussels, Steuermann in Der Fliegender Holländer in concert with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons and at Scottish Opera,  Iago in Rossini’s Otello for the Buxton Festival, and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni at New Zealand Opera. Other performances have included roles in Billy Budd (dir. David Alden), Benvenuto Cellini (dir. Terry Gilliam), Les Dialogues des Carmélites (dir. John Doyle), Die Zauberflöte (dir. Sir Thomas Allen), Intermezzo, The Beggar’s Opera, The Turn of the Screw, The Rake’s Progress, and Fidelio.

Recent concert performances include Tristan und Isolde with the BBC Scottish Symphony under Donald Runnicles, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Barbican with the Philharmonia, Finzi's Dies Natalis with the BBCCO, Elgar's The Kingdom at Kings College, Cambridge, Mozart C Minor Mass at Cadogan Hall, and Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with L’Orchestre National d’Ile de France and at The Wigmore Hall.

In recent years, Nicky Spence also made his New York recital debut with Malcolm Martineau, performed a live broadcast at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, a Britten Song-Cycle Series in Aldeburgh, a recital series at Kings Place as part of their Britten 100 celebrations, and appearances at the Oxford Lieder Festival, Middle Temple Hall, St. John’s Smith Square, Spitalfields festival with the Songsmiths and the Purcell Room.

An experienced recording artist, Nicky Spence first attracted a long-term recording contract with Universal Classics at a young age and has increasing recognition on stage, radio and television as a presenter and performer alike, having contributed to tours and Platinum Selling disks the world over. The tenor’s discography now also includes recital collaborations with Graham Johnson (Schumann: The Complete Songs Vol. 10 / Hyperion), Britten Songs with Malcolm Martineau (Onyx), Messiaen’s La Mort du Nombre (Stone Records) and a disc of premiere Hoddinott recordings. Adding to his credentials in contemporary repertoire is a recent world-premiere recording of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s song cycle A Constant Obsession, for Resonus Classics, which has received uniformly excellent reviews.

Nicky Spence trained at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the National Opera Studio. He took his place as an inaugural Harewood Artist at the ENO in 2011, which is made possible by the American Friends of the ENO.

Nicky has also recently been nominated by the International Opera Awards for Young Singer of the Year 2015 and was also one of ten artists up for this year’s Times Breakthrough Award at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards celebrating the best of up and coming young British talent from across the Arts.


UPDATED IN AUGUST 2015
 

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Reviews

"Nicky Spence’s disarmingly ingenious David"

Richard Morrison, The Times (09/02/15)

" Nicky Spence and Madeleine Shaw have irresistible charm as David and Magdalene"

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph (08/02/15)

" ...Nicky Spence’s David is the perfect blend of impulsiveness and serious ambition..."

The Guardian

"Nicky Spence, a down-to-earth David"

Financial Times, Richard Fairman (10/02/15)

"Apart from Nicky Spence’s charismatic David, no single voice may leap out as world-class "

Michael Church, Independent (10/02/15)

"And there were assertive contributions from James Creswell as Pogner and Nicky Spence as David."

Michael White, New York Times (10/02/15)

"Nicky Spence’s David – new power amplifying his trademark purity"

Alexandra Coghlan, NewStatesman (10/02/15)

"Nicky Spence as David was a lovable melodious thug, and fun whenever he stepped on to the stage"

Eric Page, G Scene, (10/02/15)

"Nicky Spence made yet another strong role debut as David, staking out his claim as a potential Mastersinger with powerful singing and bluff comic acting"

Peter Reed, Classical Source (07/02/15)

" Nicky Spence was confident in both voice and acting as Sachs’ apprentice, David"

Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International (10/02/15)

"Nicky Spence brought his familiar sense of lively bon-homie and intensely vivid stage presence to bear on David, giving a vividly projected performance which was combined with sustained and ardent lyricism. The result was highly appealing, very charming indeed and supremely well sung"

Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill (08/02/15)

"Spence’s voice is naturally thrilling, radiant and luminescent in just about every second of this programme, crossing stylistic boundaries with the silvery ease of a born entertainer…"

***** CD Review 'As You Like It...' - The Scotsman

"Star of the evening had to be Nicky Spence, who sang confidently and I hope with promise of more Rossini roles. Here was a tenor matching Bruce Ford in this repertoire, and it would be good to hear him in more serious Rossini in due course. "

Opera Britannia - Rossini: Otello / Buxton Festival

"Elan, intelligence and passionate engagement: Scottish tenor Nicky Spence brings it all to his exemplary performance of Out of Winter, the opening cycle on this disc of songs by Jonathan Dove. Spence's enunciation of the text (by the late Robert Tear, in response to Britten's Winter Words) has crystal clarity, while his singing runs the full gamut from the aching lyricism of Song I to the elated peroration of Song VI's conclusion."

BBC Magazine - Dove: All You Who Sleep Tonight

"Roger Quilter’s Three Shakespeare Songs, rich and genuine, were wonderfully delivered, and then came the jewel of the afternoon, Shakespeare settings by John Dankworth and Cleo Laine, Spence and Lepper moved into torch-song mood, Spence’s fabulous body-language (not least his eyes and smile) conveying every nudge of this treasurable music"

Christopher Morley, The BIrmingham Post

"Nicky Spence, also a tenor, aptly stresses superficiality as the callow Steva…"

Jenůfa - George Loomis, The New York Times

"Nicky Spence rose to the challenge of ringing every possible drop of emotion from the score ... [He] sang with grace and aplomb."

Britten's War Requiem - Christie Franke, Bachtrack

"Tenor Nicky Spence was in ringing voice as Blanche’s brother, the Chevalier de la Force; every word registered and he clearly conveyed his dilemma when visiting Blanche to persuade her to escape. "

Dialogues des Carmélites - Opera Britannia

"[…] Nicky Spence’s Steersman made up the expert cast. Spence’s rumbustious yet delicate ceilidh display, with his troosers slipping down, could go viral if someone puts it on YouTube."

Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian

"Tenor Nicky Spence found it difficult not to steal the show from his fellow performers [...]. His charisma and trademark twinkle on Kurt Weill's Lonely House, from Street Scene, produced whooping and gruff chants of "Brilliant, son!" from the crowd."

Marianne Gunn, Scottish Opera

"And the tenor Nicky Spence changed my conception of the Novice. [...] With his husky frame and penetrating voice, Mr. Spence was a different kind of victim: an overgrown weakling who will do anything to avoid pain and punishment. "

Billy Budd, ENO - Anthony TommasiniI, The New York Times

"Spence [...] broadly overcomes the awkwardness of adults playing children on the stage – and does it with arrestingly bright, bell-like resonance [...] Spence is turning out to be a voice of real distinction (ENO, Two Boys)"

Michael White, The Telegraph

"The AAM’s lightness of attack was exhilarating, the strings’ volatile sheen upping the expressive ante no end and providing a luminous backdrop for Frank de Bruine’s ethereally pastoral oboe obbligato (which he played standing up) in the “Qui tollis” section of the ‘Gloria’, which circled round Nicky Spence’s disarmingly tender, Italianate and challenging aria."

Peter Reed, Classical Source

"Nicky Spence floored us with the drama of ‘Deposuit potentes’"

Peter Reed, Classical Source

"Nicky Spence: tenor was on spectacular form in Bach's demanding arias"

Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk

"And then there’s the contrast between this fine-spun theme and the thundering, quasi-operatic Quoniam. Spence was master and more of both, crooning and raging by turns, though later this latter was revealed merely as a warm-up for a Deposuit Potentes that seized the hall with its physical force and rhetorical urgency."

Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk

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Discography